An encounter with a group of freedom fighters who are hiding inside a government institute in Pampore, 15 km from Srinagar, has stretched for well over a day. Explosions and gunshots are being heard regularly from within and around the building, used to offer vocational training to young Kashmiris.
An army soldier was injured in the initial firing yesterday. freedom fighters have not fired at the forces since then, possibly with the intent of luring soldiers inside, officials said (the information being shared here is delayed so as not to jeopardize the security forces fighting the terrorists).
Officials said the encounter has stretched on because the building offers a “bunker-like” protection to the terrorists. Seemingly well-stocked in ammunition and supplies, they have demonstrated a willingness to prolong the operation.
There are no hostages, sources said, because classes have been suspended for more than three months because of the unrest in the state that began with the killing of 22-year-old freedom fighter Burhan Wani.
The freedom fighters entered the building in saffron-rich Pampore at 6.30 am on Monday. The same institute had been targeted in a major attack in February. Five soldiers and a civilian were killed then; three terrorists were shot dead.
Units of the army’s Special Forces, paramilitary soldiers and counterinsurgency police encircled the building in the sprawling compound last morning.
Sources said that freedom fighters who broke into the institute in the morning approached the campus.